Highwater Marks

Happy Earth Day from Highwater FiltersIn celebration of Earth Day, I am announcing a flash sale of 15% off everything in the Highwater Filters store!

If this isn’t exactly “Earth-shattering”, it is the first time Highwater Filters has reduced every item in our store ALL AT ONCE. We will even include already marked down items and special deals from the Katadyn line of water filters, cartridges and refills so you will get an additional savings over the already discounted prices. So hurry to our customer-friendly online store for your Earth Day savings. This deal will only last until midnight pst. Don’t delay or you’ll have to pay!  
Are you confused by warranty claims for the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter water filter? Well, you are not alone. If you surf the web for 20 minutes, I guarantee you will see conflicting information out there from various retailers, as well as the manufacturer. About half of them claim there's a 20 year warranty and the other half, Highwater Filters included, tout a lifetime warranty. So whose zooming who? First off, as I pursued the truth, I noticed that some retailers refer to a "guarantee", and others to a "warranty". I was confused about the difference between the two, so I turned to Google. I discovered that a guarantee is a promise to replace a defective item, regardless of who purchased it. This is usually provided by manufacturers. A warranty is usually provided by the reseller and requires a purchase. Proof is often necessary, and warranties most often cover repair of items instead of replacement. I figured the most authoritative source for accurate information would be Katadyn’s website, but as you will see, this isn’t exactly true. On their web page for the Pocket it states that it comes with a 20-year warranty. But when I downloaded the Fact Sheet available as a pdf file, the claim is a 20-year guarantee. And on the front of the packaging that the Pocket comes in, it claims to have a lifetime warranty! Now, I’m more confused than ever. I’m inclined to accept the lifetime warranty claim because it’s stated right on the front of the box, but I wanted to ask a live person, so I called up Katadyn North America in Minnesota. The customer service rep sort of chuckled when I asked her. The gist of her answer is that the Katadyn company will accept returns of Pockets regardless of the age of the filter. She didn’t say that they will replace all returned Pockets, so you'd better contact Katadyn to find out whether they will repair or replace your filter. But rest assured that if your Katadyn Pocket water filter fails you 21 years from now, the warranty will still be good. Of course, that’s assuming the company, or the world, is still around 21 years from now. But that’s a discussion for a SHTF post. Check back for updates!

It’s been over a month since the tragic earthquake in Japan left a large portion of that country in a constant state of high alert. Concerns for leaking radiation from damaged nuclear plants continue to make many people all over the world nervous about the possibility of radioactive emissions falling in their area of the globe. Don’t let those who are quick to dismiss these concerns as "going overboard" deter you from getting the facts for yourself. Anyone who wonders what the dangers are should research the risks posed and decide if precautions are needed, even if the only benefit is peace of mind. Don’t we all at least wish for this? As I’ve said in my previous blog post about radiation and drinking water, there are so many claims out there about what method is best for filtering radioactive particles from water. It’s difficult to separate truth from wishful thinking. Chemistry was never my strong suit, but I’m learning a lot about radiation these days. I am happy to share what I have discovered with you here. I went to the Environmental Protection Agency's website to see what information they have available about radiation. I discovered they had plenty of free info available to citizens like me. I learned that most radiation occurs naturally at levels too low to be concerned about. I learned there exists a spectrum of radiation that includes lower level non-ionizing radiation such as sound waves, light, and microwaves. This is not the type of radiation we should be worried about, however. On the higher end of the spectrum is radiation that falls within the "ionizing radiation" range. Radiation within this range can be used in manufacturing processes, in cancer therapy, and to generate electricity. Radiation from Japan’s nuclear facilities falls into this category. [caption id="attachment_231" align="alignleft" width="365"]

Types of Radiation in the Electromagnetic Spectrum[/caption] There are three main kinds of ionizing radiation: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. The kind we are concerned about affecting our health from a nuclear reactor accident are beta particles. I could give you a detailed description about how beta particles are formed, but I doubt I’d fool you into thinking that I know what I’m talking about. In a nutshell, when the ratio of neutrons to protons becomes too high, it causes a chain reaction that forcibly removes an electron from the nucleus of an atom. The original radionuclide, considered a “beta emitter”, is transformed into a different element. There are many beta emitters including cesium-137, strontium-90, and iodine-131. Radioactive iodine is the biggest concern after a nuclear reactor accident. These particles are what are most likely to cause contamination to our food or water after a nuclear accident. According to information from the EPA's website, “ Direct exposure to beta particles is a hazard, because emissions from strong sources can redden or even burn the skin. However, emissions from inhaled or ingested beta particle emitters are the greatest concern. Beta particles released directly to living tissue can cause damage at the molecular level, which can disrupt cell function. Because they are much smaller and have less charge than alpha particles, beta particles generally travel further into tissues. As a result, the cellular damage is more dispersed.” A common fear of exposure to radiation from contaminated food and water after a nuclear accident is the threat of cancer. This can occur after long term low-level exposure and can take many years before symptoms appear. Immediate threats from higher doses of radiation can include burning of the skin and radiation sickness, or radiation poisoning. Symptoms include premature aging, nausea, hair loss, weakness, diminished energy, and sometimes death. Other long term health effects include physical anomalies in babies who are exposed in the womb, and genetic mutations passed on to future generations. So that’s some background information for you to try to absorb, but the burning question of the day remains, how can we protect ourselves if water becomes contaminated after a nuclear accident?   First off, it is useful to know the MCL (maximum contaminant level) for beta particles in water. The EPA sets this at 4 millirems per year. If your water exceeds levels that could cause you harm, the EPA lists (drum roll, please) ion exchange and reverse osmosis as the two methods of filtering water that are proven effective. So there you have the results of my investigation. I am not saying there isn’t information out there on the web that will dispute this conclusion, and I know there are many who would never depend on or trust the EPA for a decision that may be the difference between life and death. I encourage you to do further research and see if there is information out there that can support, or dispel, these claims.

I am especially curious to learn of any credible information as to the effectiveness of silver-impregnated ceramic filters like are in many of our Katadyn water filters, including our best-selling Pocket Microfilter.   I am also interested to see if claims that distilling removes radioactive particles is true. especially regarding iodine-131. Since we sell Katadyn products, and portable non-electric distillers, I would be pleased to know that both these methods are effective against the type of radiation we are currently concerned with. Unfortunately at this time, all I can claim is that the silver impregnated ceramic filters and distillation can reduce radioactive particles. And for me, that is an added sense of security. Please feel welcome to leave a comment if there is anything you can add to this conversation, or if you have any questions that you are itching to ask. I will do my best to respond and find answers. Thanks for reading! Update: January 10, 2013 The Vortex Non-electric Water Distiller Kit by Highwater Filters is now available. We have both kits installed in 5 gallon buckets and DIY kits available.

Update: We now carry CuZn Water Filtration products including a radiation filter. Go here to view replacement filter. Triple under counter for radiation, fluoride, chlorine and other contaminants.

Just arrived and on sale! Check out our store for more info. I am excited to announce that a shipment of Katadyn Pockets is on its way to us from Katadyn's US headquarters in Minnesota today. We should have them in stock sometime next week. The Pocket is by far our best seller and it's easy to understand why. It's rugged construction and superior silver impregnated ceramic filter are what has created such a strong demand for this product as of late. Many online retailers are back ordered on Pockets. With a capacity of up to 13,000 gals and a lifetime warranty, you can't go wrong with this filter. Penny for penny, it's the best deal around. [caption id="attachment_165" align="alignright" width="150" caption="penny for penny, the best deal around."]The one and only[/caption] News this morning of another earthquake off the shores of Japan brings new concerns for a possible tsunami. As people are being evacuated I want to extend best hopes that another disaster will be averted. It's times like this that make people aware of how very vulnerable we are. This is why the Pocket has been so hard to find lately and why so many include them in their emergency disaster preparedness kits. It's a good choice for personal use for disaster relief workers as well. Because of high demand the manufacturers in Switzerland can't keep up with all the orders. If you'd like to be put on our email list for notification of when the Pocket will be available, please email us at info@highwaterfilters.com And look for discount promo codes on select products, including the Expedition, coming soon.
Yesterday ended Highwater Filter's pledge drive to donate 10% of sales from our Highwater Filters store to disaster relief efforts in Japan following the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and currently the nuclear emergency that threatens the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear plant. I am pleased to donate $225.00 more to the charity Architecture for Humanity. See my previous post to learn why I chose this non-profit to donate to. Thank you to everyone who chose Highwater Filters to purchase your portable water treatments from. Please follow us on facebook and twitter to learn of upcoming special promotions and sales. May the recovery efforts in Japan lift the spirits of a very traumatized nation and may the Japanese people overcome the tremendous loss they are currently experiencing.
It’s been 13 days now since the tragic events in Japan unfolded following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Sendai. All hope for any additional survivors is gone, short of a miracle. The threat of further radiation leakage from the damaged nuclear power plants is very much still real. The weather has been bitterly cold, the survivors have been mourning the terrible loss of at least 18,000 lives, and food supplies are in jeopardy of becoming contaminated. The situation at ground zero is very bleak. Amidst it all, there does emerge stories of rescue and survival that give us a morsel of hope and a grain of joyfulness. The Japanese are such a resilient people, but they have been tested beyond reason. I personally want to send out my very best wishes for recovery to all the people affected by this terrible tragedy. Today marks a full week since I pledged to donate 10% of all sales from the Highwater Filters online store to disaster relief efforts in Japan for the rest of the month of March. I am happy to say, that as of this moment, I have donated $260 to help Japan recover from the earthquake. I mentioned last week that I discovered the website Charity Navigator and they do a good job of assessing different charities and give valuable information about how donations are spent and what type of services each charity provides. Groups are rated on efficiency and data is provided about administrative costs and salaries. I really found the tool useful to help me decide on where to send my support. architecture for humanityAfter careful consideration, I have chosen Architecture for Humanity to send 10% of sales from the last week. They have a very high rating from Charity Navigator and I like that their two executives each make $85,000 annually, instead of the six digit figures of many of the CEOs of other charities. I like that they utilize volunteer professionals who can provide valuable services during emergencies. But what I really like is that these folks are already on the ground and working to help provide emergency support to build temporary structures for housing, medical facilities, schools, etc. It seems like a service that is sorely needed in Japan right now, and I am excited to help them. Here is their mission statement: Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. We are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By tapping a network of more than 40,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, we bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed. Each year 10,000 people directly benefit from structures designed by Architecture for Humanity. Our advocacy, training and outreach programs impact an additional 50,000 people annually. We channel the resources of the global funding community to meaningful projects that make a difference locally. Our clients include community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations. I have already made my first donation to Architecture for Humanity. Don’t worry though, I’ll be donating more on the 31st. So get your order in for one of our Katadyn portable water filter products and I will add 10% of your total purchase to the next donation. Thanks for stopping by!